How do we find the time?
Everyone is busy, we know. We’re no different. Between the two of us, we hold six jobs. We are both full-time directors of pre-doctoral dental programs. Eric is the owner of a national insurance agency, and Ivy has a dental practice in Manhattan. We founded and recently launched an online algorithmic dental job matching service. As busy as we are (you really have no idea!), we consider it crucial to create time for the activities that we enjoy. Eric enjoys exercising daily, tinkering around the house and spending time with his granddaughter. Ivy loves practicing yoga daily, knitting and cleaning up the beach.
How do we do it? It’s all about priorities and time management. Obviously, we both value the work that we do. We also realize that work always gets done somehow, and that the primary reason that we work so hard is to enable us to enjoy our lives. But even with those realizations, we still have to juggle our tasks and manage our time so that we can get everything done and have time left over to pause, play and ponder.
Toward that end, we have both made commitments to ourselves to exercise or practice yoga daily. We recognize that we need to exercise to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally, but beyond that, we also know that it is extremely important to start our day by doing something for ourselves. As caregivers, our days quickly become consumed with the needs of others. If we do not start out each day spending a little selfish time, we can get lost in the shuffle. So before we become overwhelmed with our workday, we make sure to take care of ourselves in the best way we know how – by keeping our bodies fit and our minds healthy. We make sure that our workouts are flexible and achievable in terms of time, location and equipment, so that we can continue to maintain our commitment to ourselves with ease.
In addition to exercising, we streamline our time with an online organizer. We both use an online calendar to organize our appointments and responsibilities. We incorporate reminders at appropriate times to ensure that we don’t miss anything. We share our work calendars with our employees and students and our personal calendars with each other so that we don’t inadvertently create scheduling conflicts. At this point, neither of us can remember how we functioned before we created our online calendars! These devices provide a degree of efficiency that simply cannot be achieved otherwise.
We are both big list makers. We list tasks that need to be done, and we then prioritize those items. We make sure to first do what we need to do, and then do what we want to do. When possible, we tackle the least desirable tasks first. In addition, we have both short-term and long-term lists, so that nothing winds up being overlooked or forgotten.
We both recognize the importance of delegating tasks. We would not be able to function at the level that we do without delegating appropriate tasks to appropriate people. We play to the strengths of those who report to us, and we hire new employees as needed. Not only do we want support for ourselves, but we also make sure to create adequate support systems for those who support us!
Most important of all, we leave room for flexibility. We know that the best of plans can go awry, that schedules are constantly changing, and that without being flexible, we will miss out on the meaningful professional and personal experiences that distinguish between a life defined by work and a life well lived. As busy as we are, we will settle for nothing less than a life well lived.
Dr. Ivy Peltz and Dr. Eric Studley are New Dentist Now guest bloggers and are both GP directors and clinical associate professors at New York University College of Dentistry, their alma mater. They are the co-founders of Doccupations, an algorithmic dental job matching website. Dr. Peltz and Dr. Studley live in New York City and Port Washington, NY. When they have free time, they enjoy traveling, listening to live music, and resting! They exercise daily, they try to eat healthfully, and they walk on the beach weekly.